Windy City No Wave Incest Blowout
:: Lake of Dracula - Four Teachers ::
:: Monitor Radio - Brown Leather ::
Everyone must have a record that serves the dual purposes of making you want to rock out while at the same time annoying pretty much anyone else that hears it. This is mine. Both sides of this split are charmingly fractured shards of sonic mischief from Chicago's 90's bombastic Now-Wave "scene."
Where to start with now defunct Lake of Dracula? They're named after an early 70's Japanese horror movie, and that's pretty much the only straightforward thing about them. The ring leader is the infamous Weasel Walter, who I think you can get a good idea about with this snippet from an old interview: "Yeah, no more songs. Songs are gay. Like, there's no reason to play songs. We know each other so well we can just improvise everything. Actually, when you saw us play, they weren't actual songs, they were a clever set of cues and knock-knock jokes we were stringing together to kind of make it seem like there were songs. Songs are old, the day of songs are over. Fake songs, like the ones we play, that's like the new shit."
There's tons of info on him on the Internet, and he's in about 50 bands, but the main things I want you to know about him are that he also plays with the skull-bludgeoning Flying Luttenbachers and you haven't lived until you've heard his version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" from the amazing(ly fucked up) Queen tribute Dynamite With A Laser Beam. Other members on this track include former Scissor Girl Heather M., and backing "vocals" from the spastic genius Al Johnson, whose work as frontman of U.S. Maple is something I simply cannot get enough of. Four Teachers is probably my favorite track by them, perfectly capturing their blatant disregard of the rock music form while still rocking mightily.
Monitor Radio? Well, I have never been able to find much about them, though I've certainly wanted more of their music. I've had to settle for this track and what's on the epic Skin Graft comp, Camp Skin Graft. They were certainly a kissing cousin in their incestuous Chicago scene. One member, Emily O'Hara, has played with Weasel in Bobby Conn's band. There's a "G. Druzzi" credited here, and seeing that The Rapture has a skronky sax player named Gabriel Andruzzi, and there's some skronky sax on this track, there's a decent chance it's the same person. At least that's what my inner Encyclopedia Brown tells me. The guitar playing blows my mind. This song sounds like a free jazz exorcism falling down some steps, dusting itself off and getting back up, and then falling down another flight of steps, and so on and so on, amen.